Rail Transportation Lobbying - Update #3


In this portion of the lobbying task, it was time to investigate the current legislative powers and the likelihood of Amtrak Funding legislation. So far, this appears to be a good year for such legislation. While some members of the House and Senate feel as though the American railroad lines should be sold to private corporations, the majority still feel as though funding Amtrak would be the best for supporting railroad transportation. This is also portrayed in the media, which is covering the issue fairly well. In addition, the key person for new Amtrak legislation is Senator Frank Lautenberg of NJ (of which I am a constituent). This has some benefits and downsides in influencing such passage. While certainly helpful to be able to discuss the issues directly with the congressperson introducing the bill, it is, in common terms, "preaching to the choir." In other words, he doesn't need to be influenced to support such legislation.

The key group lobbying in support of this legislation is the National Association of Railroad Passengers. It would certainly be possible to join efforts with their group to lobby for the common goal of funding railroad transportation. Time spent influencing key legislators necessary for such passage will predominately include discussing the issues with the members of the congressional committee focused on studying the feasibility of railroad privatization and the opposition to such funding in both the House and Senate. While this was one of the primary concerns of congress, the focus has shifted to balancing the federal budget, so this time would be best spent discussing the issues with the committee members and waiting for the federal budget situation to be solved. Since such focus has shifted, there are no current meetings or hearings on the agenda; the committee has already presented their findings in support of Amtrak, but have not determined an appropriate amount.

Overall, there is much support for the issue, especially amongst those who have researched the topic; however, due to more pressing issues, the legislation has been placed aside for issues of greater priority. Once such legislative discussions return to focus on rail issues, the full force of the lobbying can resume.